Monday, July 22, 2013

Santa Cruz Weekend

This past weekend I hit the boardwalk with Jenn and our friends from CF 209 Sport in Stockton.  It's been at least 10 years since I've been to this Northern California landmark, and it brought back some great memories.  The best part was that not much had changed.  The Giant Dipper is still screaming along, the log ride is still soaking passengers, and the carnival style food still smells just as good as it did in my youth.  During the day we played a pretty solid game of 4 on 4 football in which I felt fast, strong, and well conditioned.  It's nice when training translates to real life.

Jenn and I also created a mini WOD on the beach using a climbing rope I had in the trunk and an empty garbage can.  We filled the can about a third of the way with sand so it wouldn't tip over, then wrapped the rope around the base.  For 10 minutes we proceeded to pull the trash can in like an anchor, do 10 squat jumps, and then walking lunge the rope back out to the start position.  More than anything this torched the lower back and hamstrings.  Maneuvering and trying to get footing in the deep sand is always challenging.

During the evenings we took it easy and Gabe and Kirstie's beach house, telling stories and drinking beers.  All in all it was a great weekend away from the regular pace of life.

Attached is a video of the workout.  Had a little fun with the X Ray filter...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

S.F. Urban Hike 2013

Saturday brought with it the much anticipated Urban Hike 2.0.  It'd been just under 2 years since Clint and I last took a group on the 7 mile trek from Stern Grove to the Marina, but all the landmarks felt fresh in my mind as we passed them.  The main difference this time around was that instead of having 12 or 15 people with us, now we were leading a crew of close to 40.  It was quite a sight watching that type of mob running up Twin Peaks, or crossing the street in the Haight, and traversing the network of logs in the Presidio.  But at the end of the day "the more the merrier" never proved more true.

The hike began, as I said, at Stern Grove Park in the Sunset District.  From there we wove our way along Portola and up to the base of Twin Peaks.  At this point everyone was good and warmed up (the majority of the walk was uphill) so we started running.  The first 1/2 - 3/4 mile of the run up Twin Peaks is paved, then it transitions to dirt trail and steepens dramatically for the final 1/4 mile.  This is a serious leg burner and a challenge to convince the body to keep running instead of slowing to a walk.  Once at the top we paused for pictures and to catch our breath before heading down the back side towards Bueno Vista.

During this stretch we did some up and down stairs bear crawling, some log squatting, and a little freestyle object climbing.  No organized WODs, just having fun interacting with whatever we came across.

At this point we were at the halfway point of the hike and in the famed Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. Just as we did 2 years ago, we stopped in at Martin Mack's for lunch.  This turned into a 2 hour long, jukebox infused, beer-laden intermission that I won't soon forget.  We literally took over this place, and if the day had ended here it would have been enough.

But we had another 3-4 miles to go, so we made our way back to the street and up through Presidio Heights.  There were a few impressive feats accomplished along the way, including John's incredible handstand walk up a narrow cement retaining wall alongside a church.  How he did this after our lunch break I will never know.

Eventually we made it to the Presidio and the welcome scent of Eucalyptus trees.  We wove our way through the network of fallen trunks and decided to take a quick break at the new CF San Francisco location just south of the Bay.  It's a whole new world down there since they moved out of the parking lot, let me tell you.  Very cool space with vaulted rafters and a series of sliding doors along the street.  When we got there, some members were hosting a small powerlifting competition, so we stuck around for a short while to observe and cheer them on.  But the end was in sight and we had to move on.

For the home stretch, we walked past the Palace of Fine Arts and into the Marina District, settling at Monahan's for beers and dinner.  All in all, a perfect kinda day.  There were some tough physical tests, some light-hearted breaks in the action, and a ton of like-minded people bent on enjoying themselves outdoors.  For an inside look at the hike, check out the video below, courtesy of Clint and Village Fitness Fair Oaks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

435# Back Squat PR!!!

Workout of the Day


3 mile Air Dyne
Prasara Yoga - Tumbleweed Flow


500 double unders for time


Establish 1 RM Back Squat
Deadlift for speed 7 x 3


3 rounds for completion:
12 walking lunges (185#)
6 atlas stones to shoulder (150#)
20 meter lateral sandbag drag (150#)

Made my way to a new back squat PR!!!  Pretty excited about it, needless to say.  And I really almost had 445#, just got a little ground up in the sticking point and couldn't pull out of it.  The rest of the session was a blur, but the combination of walking lunges, atlas stones, and sandbag drags definitely lit up my posterior chain.  Wouldn't be surprised if I'm walking like a gorilla after all this.  Probably going to take it easy tomorrow instead of training because on the weekend we're heading to San Francisco for an urban hike.  Gotta be ready for anything :-)

Friday, July 12, 2013

245# snatch + OH Squat

Workout of the Day

1 mile run
Diving Dolphin Flow

E2MOTM for 20 minutes:
1 Full Snatch + 1 OH Squat

3 rounds for completion:
20 ring dips
5 snatch grip deadlifts
20 toes to bar

After taking a day to rest and re-gather after a horrible training day monday, wednesday proved much more fruitful.  I decided to train alone today, in the gym, with all the lights out.  3:00 in the afternoon is about the deadest time of day at CF Anywhere Roseville, so I knew I wouldn't have much in the way of distraction.  The atmosphere took me back to my days in the Netherlands where I was secluded in my own little section of the gym apart from all the meatheads and rack chasers.

Starting out the weights felt decent, but not great.  I could tell I had some work to do to get my timing back.  But as the weights got heavier I got more confident.  I made 225# on the first attempt.  Missed 235#.  Got 235#.  Then I surprised myself by sticking 245# on my first attempt.  The weight felt super heavy off the ground but I had great speed getting under it. After this I made 3 attempts at 255# but never succeeded, always leaving it just a hair forward.  The biggest takeaway was that I have been snatching a lot at the 225# level and felt really comfortable there.  Not so much at the heavier weights and I could tell.  Will be changing that.

I read an article by Coach Rippetoe last week highlighting the importance of systemic overload.  The idea is that unless you're loading the bar with enough weight to stress the entire system, you're not going to get systemically stronger.  I like the idea of this because it is simple and it encourages lifting heavy.  As I was doing my snatch attempts at 255# I could feel my system adapting to the weight with each successive rep.  It's almost as if the body needs to learn how to lift a certain weight before it can actually lift it.

Going for a Back Squat 1RM tomorrow.

Down Day

Workout of the Day

2000 meter row
Scorpion Flow

5 rounds for completion:
1 Muscle Up + HSPU
30 unbroken double unders

Floor Press 5 x 3 with 3 second eccentric (100-120% 1RM)
EMOTM for 10 minutes:
Front Squat + Split Jerk

3 rounds for completion:
20 GHD situps
200 meter front rack carry
20 ring rows

Kind of a dogshit training day all around.  I was excited about the program coming in, and after a weekend like the one I had in Shelter Cove I felt like momentum was high.  But my left shoulder felt a little tweaked before I got started preventing me from doing more than 2 sets of the floor press.  That was a bummer.  And then my whole body felt weak during the front squat + split jerk, capping my weight at 265#.  That was a major bummer since I'd felt so great on jerks the week before.  Anyways, just chalk it up to being one of those days and move on I guess.  The accessory work was challenging mentally and I got through it all unbroken, so that's a plus.  Just hoping that the res of the week will be better.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shelter Cove Weekend

It's been 2 years, but I finally made it back to Shelter Cove.  I had many fond memories of the Lost Coast from 2011 and I'm happy to report that not much has changed.  Part of the allure of places like this is that they rarely change.  The same jagged cliffs, the same salty locals, the same wind beaten coastline.  There is an appeal in timelessness, especially when comparing the present to a memory.  I like it when I return to the scene of a great memory and find it unperturbed.

During this trip I managed to knock out a few cool workouts, one on the 4th of July and the other a few days later.  They went as follows:

WOD 1 - 4th of July

Hang Snatch in sand 1RM

3 rounds for time:
12 snatch deadlifts (115#)
9 power snatches
6 oh squats
200 meter sand shuttle

WOD 2 - 6th of July

10 minute AMRAP:
10 sandbag ground to shoulder (80#)
10 meter sandbag squat jumps
10 sandbag shoulder to overhead
10 meter sandbag squat jumps

Lugging equipment to remote locations is usually a pain in the ass, but because Shelter Cove allows trucks on the beach it wasn't much of a hassle on the 4th.  Clint, Jenn, and I pulled the barbels out early and turned a few heads while we started warming up.  Doing hang snatches in the sand is VERY difficult when the weight gets heavy.  I've never really felt how important it is to push through the ground as when I started trying to move heavy weight and my feet began sinking into the sand.  Because of this I was only able to get up to 205# for my top lift.  I will say that the absence of traction allowed you to dive under the bar faster than usual, so the sand seems to be a good training modality for speed.

The complex following the snatches was awesome.  Running along the water, snapping the bar up out of the sand... it was everything I love about training outside with and indoor implement (the bar) thrown in.  I didn't get a time on the workout but I felt strong.  If I had to guess I'd say 6 to 7 minutes.

On our way out of town we snuck down to Black Sand Beach with a sandbag and burned through the above workout before cramming into the car.  Black Sand is known for its deep, pebbly sand and it's empty shores.  Every time I've been there I'm left in awe of its beauty.  Now I will have another memory to go with that: horrible, horrible sandbag squat jumps.  These sucked the life out of me.  Not a commonly used exercise because of the heavy impact on the lower joints, sandbag squat jumps in sand were absolutely murderous.  You quickly learn the technique of sliding into the deep sand as you land to minimize the impact, but there's no way to avoid the pain in your legs.  Top notch training, go give it a shot.

I've included some video clips of what went on so those of you out there who've never made it to the Lost Coast will have a better idea of what you're missing.  Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Monster Swim WOD with Gabe and Kirstie

Workout of the Day

Pigeon to Pigeon transitions, 10 minutes practice

EMOTM for 10 minutes -
:10 one arm handstand hold (wall assist)
3 squat snatches @ 135#

Deadlift 7 x 3 with bands
Back Squat 5RM
3 rounds for completion:
10 bent row
15 reverse hyper
10 glute ham raise

For time:
1000 m swim
300 m farmers walk (53# kbs)
100 m handstand walk

Definitely didn't have the same kinda juice I had yesterday, but I was treated to the company of Gabe Subry and Kirstie Arnaz.  So at least I had that to lift my spirits.  Don't get to see these guys enough so it's always special when they come to town.

I actually handled the skill workout alright, making every round unbroken, but I will say that holding yourself on one hand is A LOT harder than on two.  Just the residual taxation in my shoulders was much worse than I anticipated.  I guess I expected to be able to lock out and kind of chill for the 10 seconds... not the case at all.  This required a lot of concentration and effort to keep from tipping over or crashing down.

I did my lifting down at Super Training with the usual suspects, plus Gabe and Kirstie.  It was their first time down to train with Mark, so I'm hoping they're hooked and will come more.  Again, I didn't feel as great as I have, but still managed to get 385# for 4 hard reps on the back squat.  Pretty happy with that. The accessory stuff I was wasted on, only getting 5-6 reps on the glute ham raises each time through.  My posterior chain pretty much had it.

Good news was that there wasn't much posterior chain needed for the conditioning WOD later that evening.  The three of us grabbed some KBs and headed out to the lake for some true endurance training.  We targeted the farthest buoy (500 meters according to the lifeguard) and set out into the open water.  This felt amazing.  I'm not sure I've ever felt more relaxed in the water, and I'm sure a lot of this had to do with the temperature.  The water couldn't have been colder than 75 degrees, making things a lot more comfortable than usual lake swims.  I made it around the buoy and back to shore in around 18 minutes and immediately started up the hill with the kbs.  Gabe and Kirstie were just a few minutes behind me.

All went well until I tried to kick up into a handstand.  Nothing.  I tried again.  Shorted it.  My arms were toast and my midline was gone... I knew then it was going to be a looong 100 meters.  Luckily things started to get better in the middle, but it still took me quite awhile to make it to the end, with my finishing time stopping at 28:40.  We managed to snag a few short video clips from one of our coaches.  Check them out below.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

108 degrees

Workout of the Day

1 mile run
Crow Evolution Flow

5 rounds for completion:
Parallel bar shoulder swings
5 ring swings

Floor Press 10 x 1
Split Jerk 1 EMOTM for 10 minutes

3 rounds for completion:
200 meter overhead carry (135#)
20 toes to bar
10 thick bar curls

Completely draining day today in the heat.  Summer is definitely here and we're all just gonna have to train through it.

Top to bottom I dominated today... but that's kind of the way it goes when you're fresh off a rest week. I was able to make it all the way through the Prasara Yoga flow programmed today, which was not something I expected after watching the a href="">video.
 The P bar and ring swings felt great as well.
Then I started working my way up in weight for the floor presses and for the 3rd or 4th week session in a row set a PR.  333#, and it felt solid.  I tried 343# but didn't really have a chance.  Next time.

More of the same during the split jerks, as I worked up from 245# all the way to 315#.  That tied a PR for jerks from the front rack, and I think I had more.  Over the next 3 weeks I'm going to try to push this lift as close to 350# as I can.

Afterwards I headed down to Rainbow bridge and soaked in the American River for a solid 20 minutes.  Denny and Rob came with me, so we swam across the river and found some cliffs to jump off.  By the time we got back to the cars I felt amazing and ready for a nap.  Which I took.

Hitting Super Training and an outdoor WOD tomorrow with good buddy Gabe Subry from 209 Sport. Looki
ng forward to it!